Transform lives through 
creative expression.

Transform lives through
creative expression.

Master's (M.A.) in Counseling: Art Therapy

  • Train in one of the nation’s best known art therapy programs—approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) and taught by leaders in the field who embody Adler’s focus on socially responsible practice.
  • Learn in small, intimate classes in spacious and bright studio spaces designed to encourage the artistic and therapeutic process.
  • Empower individuals to cope with life’s challenges as a counselor and art therapist trained to work with society’s most vulnerable populations.
  • Earn your degree in two years of full-time study.

Our Master of Arts in Counseling: Art Therapy program prepares counselors to use the creative process to improve individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing with a focus on treating some of society’s most marginalized populations. We offer one of the country’s largest and best known degrees in counseling and art therapy, training graduates to model, demonstrate, and teach coping skills through counseling and art therapy to people facing trauma, stress, behavioral, neurological and other concerns.

Our innovative program is AATA-approved, key for job placement and obtaining licensure. Our rigorous curriculum focuses on using counseling methodologies, art therapy, and art making to foster personal growth, gain deeper insight, and to apply clinical training in counseling and art therapy within the context of the Adlerian principles of social responsibility, service in the community, and cultural competence. Our dual-degree program prepares students to be both counselors and art therapists, through a clinical-based model, where students are supervised at their clinical sites by not only an art therapist, but also a licensed counselor, psychologist, social worker, or couple and family therapist. A third and fourth component of our degree is that we incorporate Adlerian Theory/Individual Psychology and Adlerian Art Therapy into the curriculum, giving our students additional techniques and healing modalities to apply in clinical practice.

We offer an immersive learning experience across diverse areas of study, including courses in Neuroscience; Trauma, Loss, Grief, and Bereavement; Adlerian Psychology and Psychopathology; Special Populations and Adaptive Methods; Socio-Cultural and Multi-Cultural Approaches to Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy, as well as studio coursework—all led by core faculty members and adjunct professors who are experts in the field. Adler University is a nationally recognized pioneer in graduate education, training professionals who are committed to a more just society.


Our groundbreaking program is designed to prepare counselors and art therapists to serve diverse populations in a range of settings, including:

  • Clinics
  • Mental health centers
  • Children’s agencies
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Correctional facilities
  • Violence shelters
  • Residential treatment centers
  • Private practice

Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the following licensures:

  • The credential of Registered Art Therapist (ATR) through the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), may be attained upon completing all necessary post-graduate training.
  • Students are eligible to take the exam for the Licensed Professional Counselor exam (LPC) credential in the state of Illinois, and the National Counselor Examination (NCE) may be attained upon completion of the program.
  • The Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) credential in the state of Illinois may be attained upon completing all necessary post-graduate requirements. Students interested in applying for licensure elsewhere should work with their appropriate state licensing boards and faculty advisors to plan their curriculum accordingly.

Professional Development & Training

Gain the knowledge and skills to create real change in individuals’ lives through art. Our diverse faculty brings together rigorous classroom learning with individualized mentorship, artistic guidance, and hands-on professional experience.

Unique to our institution is the Social Justice Practicum, a nonclinical experiential practicum completed by all Adler students to cultivate the skills for becoming agents of social change. Working with our network of hundreds of community partners, students develop the practical knowledge and understanding of what it means to engage with communities and be a socially responsible practitioner.

We offer extensive field training, including a 700-hour+ counseling and art therapy practicum focused on the clinical work and principles of art therapy in hundreds of settings such as schools, mental health centers, and community organizations.

Cohort Learning, Format, & Support

Our program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study.

When you enroll, you join a cohort or group of students who will take classes together throughout the course of the program. This cohort model emphasizes collaboration, communication, connection, and camaraderie among students.

Our program environment is characterized by Adlerian encouragement, empathy, genuine care, and good will, with the expressed purpose of supporting the personal and professional growth of each of our students based on their interests and professional focus.